The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #134382   Message #3056913
Posted By: Joe Offer
19-Dec-10 - 02:10 AM
Thread Name: BS: And yet more abusing priests (Ireland)
Subject: RE: BS: And yet more abusing priests (Ireland)
Well, I haven't heard a single bishop give a credible explanation of what happened, and why so many bishops stonewalled the child molestation problem. I'm sure that some of it was cold, hard, and heartless - but most people aren't so steely cold. I think that more common responses on the part of bishops were:In this discussion, I find myself in much the same place as I find myself when I oppose the death penalty or the escalating strictness of anti-crime measures. Here in California, it is said to be political suicide to oppose the death penalty or the constant escalation of the length of prison sentences, or to attempt to refute the term "country club prison" (I've worked in many prisons, and never, ever seen a luxurious prison). California has huge financial problems, but it houses a huge percentage of its population in prisons. The cost of prisons is bleeding California to death, and it isn't solving our crime problems. Yet those who oppose the cost of ever-stricter punishments, are accused of being "soft on crime" or "unsympathetic to the victims."
That's hogwash. Nobody favors crime or criminals, and nobody is unsympathetic to the victims of crimes. I have a lot of sympathy for the victims of child molestation in the Catholic Church, and I have worked to prevent such crimes in church and Scout organizations for many years by conducting background checks on people likely to be working with children (I did this mostly as a volunteer, but occasionally as part of my job).

Nobody favors crime, but somewhere there is a line where punishment for crime becomes counterproductive. There is no amount of punishment, no amount of money that adequately compensate for the terrible evil done by a child molester, or by those who commit other horrible crimes. Even execution is not an adequate punishment. But when society becomes hungry for vengeance against criminals, it's a hunger that cannot be satisfied. Eventually, that hunger can destroy the integrity of society itself. Somewhere, we have to draw a line and stop our hunger for retribution and begin the process of healing.

It feels like we've turned the corner in the child molestation problem in the American Catholic Church in the United States. The price was huge, and many lay employees lost their jobs because church institutions could no longer afford to pay them. The process is at an earlier stage in Ireland and Europe, but I'm hoping the American experience will make the process move along better. And I hope that some day soon, the healing can begin.

Maybe once healing has begun, we can get some honest answers. I've tried to ask for honest discussion here, but it's obvious that the anger is still too strong to allow for honest discussion.

-Joe Offer-